January 12, 2001
Boca Raton News
Five thousand percent.
That's how much easier FAU football coach Howard Schnellenberger believes recruiting will be this year, especially now that football recruits can see the Tom Oxley Center with their own eyes.
"When I say 5,000 percent I'm exaggerating, but not by much," Schnellenberger said.
The Tom Oxley Center won't have its grand opening until February, but the 10 recruits making their official visit to FAU from today to Sunday will be the first time prospective football players get to see the state-of-the-art facility during a recruiting weekend.
The football coaches will reside in the Tom Oxley Center, as will the coaches for many of the women's sports teams. A few of the facility's many amenities are a weight room, student lounge, training room and computer lab.
This stands in stark contrast to last year, when several aspects of the program were simply blueprints instead of reality.
"Last year we were recruiting out of (a trailer)," Schnellenberger said. "We had no football field, no players and we didn't have a nail to hang a jockstrap on."
A season ago FAU baseball players had to play makeshift hosts to the football recruits. This year there will be football players who can tell recruits exactly what to expect if they decide to attend FAU.
Redshirt freshman linebacker Tyrone Higgins said he expects recruits to appreciate the Owls' uprfront style of recruiting.
"We came in with nothing to go on, and everything the coaches told us came true," Higgins said. "I'm going to tell them that anything the coaches (say) is the truth. It's not like other (programs) where they'll tell you a lie."
Schnellenberger said he doesn't dictate what his team should say to recruits, but at the same time he hopes they understand how important this class will be to FAU's success.
"I tell (the team) that we need all the good players we can get," Schnellenberger said. "If you want us to be a better football team, (you) should tell them how much you love it here."
Higgins said FAU is a natural fit for players who don't want to ride the bench at a more established program.
"You're not going to get the chance to maybe start anywhere else you go," he said.